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  1. #1
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    Default Field Guide For Birds

    What would you recommend by way of a field guide to birds on the AT?
    Giles

  2. #2
    Registered User kolokolo's Avatar
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    Peterson's Guide to Eastern Birds is always a good one.
    Formerly uhfox

    Springer to Bear Mountain Inn, NY
    N Adams, MA to Clarendon VT
    Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch

  3. #3
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Sibley's guide is the best by far. There is nothing else available that's even close to it in terms of comprehensiveness and the accuracy of the drawings.

    That said, are you new to birds or just want a handy reference for the common birds? If so, Sibley's might have too much detail for someone who just wants to know a few birds here and there. In that case, the Peterson guide might be a better choice.

    But if you want a great reference with every plumage for every species, Sibley's is the best. There is a Sibley app for smartphones that has all the paintings and range maps from the book plus recorded songs/calls for every species. This is what I use on long hikes. It's worth every penny of the $20 it costs.

  4. #4

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    If you have an iPod Touch/iPhone put "bird guide" in Search.

    If you have Android, try the same Search terms.

    I have several guides. Mitch-Waite, Peterson, Audubon, National Geographic. I like them all.

    I will try the Sibley app. I have only seen the book: it is comprehensive.

  5. #5
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    The Audubon Birds of North America app from Green Mountain Digital for the iOs device is the one I use the most. It's in my pocket, and doesn't add any weight to my pack.

    The Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America is the classic book. It's available as a smaller paperback, but still kind of large. The Sibley I have is a large field guide, far too large for hiking, but excellent otherwise. I think there's a smaller Sibley that's pocket size, not sure.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    I am a huge fan of the Sibley's book (left back in the car) and thier app, which I use on an iPad mini.

    That said, if you want a book to carry, I'd recommend this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Birds-...+eastern+birds

    While it won't show some rarities, and won't help you puzzle out the confusing plumage of some confusing female/ juvenile shorebird, it covers virtually everything most people are likely to find, and it's a fraction of the size and weight of anything else mentioned.

    FWIW, Northbounders follow the spring warbler migration, but very few are bird watchers. To my way of thinking, getting a book to flip thru on the couch before one heads out would be time well spent. Without all that much effort, one could make a mental note of 15 or 20 of some of the cooler looking ones that are easy to ID. Or just look a Scarlet Tanager and a Pileated Woodpecker on line now, and think of White Blaze and when you see your first ones!

  7. #7
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    FWIW, Northbounders follow the spring warbler migration, but very few are bird watchers. To my way of thinking, getting a book to flip thru on the couch before one heads out would be time well spent. Without all that much effort, one could make a mental note of 15 or 20 of some of the cooler looking ones that are easy to ID. Or just look a Scarlet Tanager and a Pileated Woodpecker on line now, and think of White Blaze and when you see your first ones!
    I haven't been on the AT in spring migration, but I bet you could see almost every eastern warbler, vireo, and flycatcher on the trail in April and May.

    That said, if you really want to rack up a good bird list on the AT or any long hike, you have to know your songs and calls. Most of the birds are going to be in the canopy or hiding in the brush, but everything is singing, especially in spring and early summer. Before my long hikes, I usually make a playlist of the songs for species I expect to run into on the trail and listen to it repeatedly while training. Birding by ear is way easier than trying to see birds--no neck strains and you don't have to stop and hunt around for the little guys.

    I use the Stokes Guides for birdsongs (you can download them as MP3s). There are a bunch of others, too.

  8. #8
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    They don't count unless you see them !

    BYOB?

    Edit: FWIW, those who are really serious about life lists most definitely would count a bird that is identified by ear alone. I am so hopeless with songs, I need to see them, but that is just me. There are a number of exceptions on the AT where the song is so outstanding, it is a true joy and a gift unto itself. Like the white throated sparrow.
    Last edited by rickb; 12-30-2014 at 16:19.

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    Thank you for all the suggestions which are greatly appreciated. Time for some retail therapy and home work!
    Giles

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    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Surprisingly (at least for me) there aren't many birds on the AT.

  11. #11
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    Surprisingly (at least for me) there aren't many birds on the AT.
    In that case, you're either not looking in the right places or not listening enough.

  12. #12
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    If I had been asked the same question for this side of the Atlantic I would have suggested Collins Bird Guide 2nd Edition by Lars Svensson as the most comprehensive of the field guides to Britain and Europe. It has served me well both at home and across Europe as far north as the arctic circle. For bird song British Bird Sounds by Ron Kettle is not bad. The only downside for me with the latter is the species are named first followed by the song. The other way round for me is better for learning. Thank you again for all the help.
    Giles

  13. #13
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Check out www.birdcouple.com

    These guys are good!

    So far, they have checked off the following birds on their AT hikes from Virginia up to Vermont. Not sure how many more they can expect as the do the rest of the Trail. Everyone gets a spruce grouse and a grey jay in Maine, but not sure what else they can expect. None of these is particularly rare -- the Bicknells Thrush, maybe -- but they definitely have a good eye to get the all on the AT.

    Here is their AT list.



    Canada Goose
    Mute Swan
    Wood Duck
    American Wigeon
    Mallard
    Ruffed Grouse
    Wild Turkey
    Common Loon
    Double-crested Cormorant
    Great Blue Heron
    Great Egret
    Green Heron
    Black Vulture
    Turkey Vulture
    Osprey
    Bald Eagle
    Sharp-shinned Hawk
    Red-shouldered Hawk
    Broad-winged Hawk
    Red-tailed Hawk
    American Kestrel
    American Woodcock
    Rock Pigeon
    Mourning Dove
    Yellow-billed Cuckoo
    Black-billed Cuckoo
    Eastern Screech-Owl
    Barred Owl
    Whip-poor-will
    Chimney Swift
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird
    Belted Kingfisher
    Red-bellied Woodpecker
    Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
    Downy Woodpecker
    Hairy Woodpecker
    Black-backed Woodpecker
    Northern Flicker
    Pileated Woodpecker
    Olive-sided Flycatcher
    Eastern Wood-Pewee
    Acadian Flycatcher
    Eastern Phoebe
    Great Crested Flycatcher
    Eastern Kingbird
    Yellow-throated Vireo
    Blue-headed Vireo
    Red-eyed Vireo
    Blue Jay
    American Crow
    Fish Crow
    Common Raven
    Tree Swallow
    Barn Swallow
    Carolina Chickadee
    Black-capped Chickadee
    Tufted Titmouse
    Red-breasted Nuthatch
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    Brown Creeper
    Carolina Wren
    House Wren
    Winter Wren
    Marsh Wren
    Golden-crowned Kinglet
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet
    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
    Eastern Bluebird
    Veery
    Bicknell's Thrush
    Swainson's Thrush
    Hermit Thrush
    Wood Thrush
    American Robin
    Gray Catbird
    Northern Mockingbird
    Brown Thrasher
    European Starling
    Bohemian Waxwing
    Cedar Waxwing
    Nashville Warbler
    Northern Parula
    Chestnut-sided Warbler
    Magnolia Warbler
    Black-throated Blue Warbler
    Yellow-rumped Warbler
    Black-throated Green Warbler
    Blackburnian Warbler
    Pine Warbler
    Prairie Warbler
    Blackpoll Warbler
    Cerulean Warbler
    Black-and-white Warbler
    American Redstart
    Worm-eating Warbler
    Ovenbird
    Common Yellowthroat
    Hooded Warbler
    Yellow-breasted Chat
    Scarlet Tanager
    Eastern Towhee
    Chipping Sparrow
    Field Sparrow
    Grasshopper Sparrow
    Fox Sparrow
    Song Sparrow
    White-throated Sparrow
    Dark-eyed Junco
    Northern Cardinal
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak
    Blue Grosbeak
    Indigo Bunting
    Bobolink
    Red-winged Blackbird
    Eastern Meadowlark
    Common Grackle
    Brown-headed Cowbird
    Baltimore Oriole
    American Goldfinch
    House Sparrow



  14. #14

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    There are a bunch of Audubn guides on sale until January 5th (I think that was the date) for android and for iPad. I think that for the iPad, there was a four guide set (birds, flowers, trees and ???) for $2.99. There are also some of the regional guides and a couple of state guides (California and Florida, maybe). Anyway, even if they aren't the absolute best guides, for a buck or two, they're pretty handy. I got four or five a few years ago, and I've gotten a lot of use from them. For the bird app, there are usually a few pictures for each bird, including male, female, young, breeding and non-breeding season plumage. There's a tab to click on for the song, and another for the map. And another place to click offers information about the bird, like behavior and migration. Again on the bird app, you can identify your location (either you input it or it checks your GPS location) and you can see what others in the vacinity have seen and reported recently. I guess some folks can say that they saw "red plumaged crowned flapdoodles," but mostly I find where people report reasonable birds for the time of year and the area, and it helps me look closely at the keys to those species, and then I can compare to the bird I'm looking at, and often, the previous poster was correct. I'm not particularly good at bird watching, and so I really appreciate the hints. I've enjoyed having those apps, and since they're on sale (mostly for $.99 right now), they're cheap enough to buy any that interest you.

    Pringles

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    I really like iBird for the iPad. The two things that set it apart from a conventional book are the ability to play the bird calls and the notebook function, which record the GPS coordinates of your sighting, and where you can record notes.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  16. #16
    Registered User Solitude501's Avatar
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    Audubon guides seem to be best for me. You can buy smaller versions. Excellent descriptions and color images.

  17. #17
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    I had a look at the Adubon set of four which seems to be a very good starting place for not only your birds but mammals and flowers as well. Thank you for all the suggestions.
    Giles

  18. #18
    Registered User volleypc's Avatar
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    Peterson's is great. I would also look at the Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell University.

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